Head of the Indonesian Peacekeeping Mission Brigadier General I Gde Sunarta told a seminar on Indonesia`s Role in UN Peace Missions here Tuesday said that TNI prefer to act as a UN Peacekeeping force rather than a Peacemaking force.
"Military missions under the UN is a task to maintain peace in the regions designated by the United Nations in preventing armed conflicts which will only harm innocent civilians", Sunarta said.
As a peacekeeping force, the Garuda Contingent (Konga) operates according to basic humanitarian principles adopted by Indonesia as shown by the preamble of the 45 Constitution, maintaining world peace and order based on freedom, lasting peace and social justice.
In accordance with the UN mandate and the approval of the government and parliament, currently Indonesia is implementing UNPTO UNAIDS (Prevention and Treatment Organization) missions in Lebanon, Congo, Sudan, Liberia, Nepal and Haiti
"As an illustration, Indonesia has received an offer to participate in peace missions in the Ivory Coast, but the offer was rejected because the status desired by the UN missions is Peacemaking operations not Peacekeeping," he said.
Peacekeeping operations are conducted to support security and persuade parties to avoid armed conflicts, while peacemaking is more likely to dampen the parties also often using the force of arms.
Sunarta said that Peacekeeping is a very useful tool in the international political arena, although very limited, the duties must be able to overcome the violence contained in the local area until the formation of an atmosphere of peace
Konga troops under the UN flag is also in tune with Indonesian foreign policy "free and active" also participated to lift Indonesia`s image in the international community to realize peace and order in the world with other countries that love peace.
"Expected to increase Indonesia`s image, then Indonesia will be more advanced and developed as a state of dignity and honor, more than that, will be able to become one of the powerful armed forces which are respected and trusted because its role and function has been tested in various UN peacekeeping missions," he said.
According to Sunarta, Indonesia`s participation in UN missions is as implementation of Indonesia`s foreign policy according to the constitution and legislation in force as well as requests from the UN itself.
"Productive progress which has been done by the TNI so far has been successfully expressed both by application of the principle `to win the heart and mind of the people`, so as to improve Indonesia`s image internationally," he said.
At this time the overall number of personnel on peacekeeping operations under the United Nations in some conflict-torn countries reach 1,537.
Indonesia hopes to be able to meet the troop numbers around 2,000 personnel in Lebanon, where possible, the leadership of troops in Lebanon will be held by military personnel, as happened in Egypt`s Sinai early in the 1960s when the UN troops were led by Major General TNI Rais Abin.
Indonesia`s active role in many functions has provided a number of strategic advantages such as increase of Indonesia`s international image as a real implementation of the RI constitution,
All this time, Indonesia has been carrying out the Free and Active foreign affairs policy by not taking sides to any blocks or alliance with any countries, besides Indonesia is a country that loves peace and humanized and just liberty.
As part of the world, Indonesia is playing a key role by joining the United Nations organizations to implement the UN mandate in peacekeeping missions operating.
Dispatch of Female Personnel to the Conflict Area.
Besides, the Indonesian military also sent a number of female army personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force corps, based on the reality in the field that they were often indecently treated, harassed and sexual assaulted by armed groups from both rebel soldiers and militia against civilians.
"Trauma experienced by victims needs a female touch and treatment, therefore sending female corps seems appropriate at the time," said Sunarta.
Sunarta added that the step was also in line with the reform within the UN itself, about gender equality in male and female military personnel in peace operations missions under the UN umbrella.
"Many female military personnel who joined the peace keeping force play an important role, and with that role the UN department of peacekeeping operations continued to gradually increase their number in the field," said Sunarta.
Further, the UN Security Council has passed resolution no.1325 of 2000 which stressed the importance of women`s role in preventing and ending conflicts, negotiating, creating and maintaining peace, humanitarian response and post-conflict reconstruction, and full participation of women in various efforts to maintain and increase defense and peace zones.
Earlier, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in remarks on International Day of Peacekeepers stated there were more than 53,000 uniformed personnel and at least 11,000 civilian staff from 94 countries serving in 15 missions across the globe. These numbers were likely to increase as the Security Council had just approved an operation in Burundi, and another was being planned for Sudan.
"The growth in missions is a welcome sign that many countries are choosing a healthier path as they emerge from violent conflicts. But it also places enormous strain on our existing resources. I urge Member States to provide the additional peacekeepers that will be needed, and the resources to go with them," he said.
He said peacekeeping had long since evolved beyond its traditional role as a monitor of ceasefires. Today, UN missions engaged in such tasks as assisting political transitions, building institutions, fostering the spread of the rule of law, supporting economic reconstruction, supervising elections, disarming militias and former combatants, facilitating humanitarian aid programs and re-settling refugees and displaced persons.
"Peacekeeping missions can never end wars by themselves. But they do offer the best possible way of ensuring there is a sustainable peace. On the International Day for UN Peacekeepers, let us remember that the most expensive peacekeeping operation costs far less than the cheapest war. That is an investment well worth making," he said.
The Indonesian troops who served as peacekeepers and military observers in conflict areas under the UN, consist of the Army, Navy and Air Force.(*)